FundingTech

African Game Publishing Startup, Carry1st, Secures $6mn For Expansion

Game Publishing Startup, Carry1st, which focuses on Africa has bagged $6mn in Series A funding.

“We essentially just got really inspired by some of the dominant demographic trends on the continent,” said Lucy Hoffman, the chief operating officer at Carry1st. “There are over a billion Gen Z and Millennials. Given the influx of cheap smartphones from China, people are coming online for the first time. They’re bypassing laptops, PCs, and consoles and just going mobile-first. And so we thought it was a really interesting opportunity to get involved in the mobile space, as the cost of data is coming down.”

Konvoy Ventures led the fundraising round, with Riot Games (creator of League of Legends), Raine Ventures, AET Fund / Akatsuki (creators of Dragon Ball Z), and Japanese fintech TTV Capital participating. 

Carry1st plans to use the funds to form new partnerships with international gaming studios, launch and scale its current game portfolio, and develop its product, engineering, and development teams. 

With this investment, Konvoy Ventures’ managing partner Jackson Vaughan will also be joining the company’s board.

The company raised a seed round in early 2020 and has since developed a payments platform that will enable users to pay using local payment methods. Since 2018, it has raised $9.5 million.

“We essentially just got really inspired by some of the dominant demographic trends on the continent,” said Lucy Hoffman, the chief operating officer at Carry1st. “There are over a billion Gen Z and Millennials. Given the influx of cheap smartphones from China, people are coming online for the first time. They’re bypassing laptops, PCs, and consoles and just going mobile-first. And so we thought it was a really interesting opportunity to get involved in the mobile space, as the cost of data is coming down.”

Africa is home to an estimated 1.1 billion millennials and Gen Z. It is also the fastest-growing region for mobile game downloads, according to App Annie. This is what prompted the investors to inject $6 million into the startup.

Read also: Nigeria-based Nexford University Secures $10.8mn Pre-series A Funding for growth and expansion

However, it seems the investment appealed to Gordon Rubenstein of Raine Ventures more because of the startup’s team as well as the potential total available market over the next 10 years for mobile gaming in Africa. The investor also said the startup had displayed a proven ability to be a leader in Africa’s nascent digital gaming industry. 


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Based in San Francisco, USA and founded in 2013, Raine Ventures is the venture capital arm of The Raine Group. The company makes seed, early-stage, and later-stage venture investments in the digital media, entertainment, sports, and leisure markets. 

Jackson Vaughan, managing partner at the Colorado-based video game venture capital firm, Konvoy Ventures, said investment into Carry1st came as a result of the startup’s planned delivery of its payment infrastructure. 

Read also: Rwandan Blockchain Startup, Leaf Global Fintech, Raises Funding From UNICEF

The number of gamers in Africa is exploding, according to Brendan Mulligan, Riot Games’ head of corporate growth, and Carry1st will bring games to an enthusiastic and relevant audience.

The AET Fund is a Japanese venture capital firm that focuses on the entertainment and technology intersection. The fund aggressively invests in emerging types of entertainment, such as streaming platforms, voice assistants, and the gamification of existing industries, and it extends beyond traditional categories like gaming, music, sports, fashion, and fitness.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, TTV Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in fintech companies offering financial products and services.

In a statement, Robbin-Coker, the startup’s CEO, said the company which is set to sign seven titles in 2021, has recruited an international team and built its digital payment and commerce platform. 

Sweden’s Raketspel, which has recorded more than 120 million downloads across all of its games, is among those which signed up. The same goes for the Cosi Games in New York and the Qene Games in Ethiopia.

In the African market, monetization is a major issue, a factor Hoffman claims the company is addressing with its regional fintech focus.

What You Need To Know About Carry1st

Carry1st— with offices in New York, Lagos, and South Africa — was co-founded in 2018 by Sierra Leonean founder Cordel Robbin-Coker, American Lucy Hoffman, and Zimbabwean software engineer Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu.

Carry1st provides a complete publishing solution, handling distribution, localization, user acquisition, marketing, customer experience and monetization for its partners. 

Called Carry1st’s Pay1st, it is an integrated fintech solution that consolidates popular payment methods in six African countries. It allows customers to pay however they want.

Robbin-Coker and Hoffman met while working in investment banking in New York, before forming Carry1st.

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